Saturday, November 14, 2015

Revisiting an old "What Am I Reading?" post

Going back through some old "What Am I Reading?" posts and found these books that I still, years later, would recommend!

A few years ago I did a study at my church on Michelle Anthony's book Spiritual Parenting. When I saw this study on the church calendar, it called my name OUT LOUD. It told me that even though life is a bit crazy right now as we adjust to being back in school and both kids playing recreational soccer, this is a study I needed to participate in.

And it didn't disappoint. Michelle really spoke to me and I began to see my role as parent in a different light....

The Ph.D. mom-author's conversational style is rarely preachy and more narrative than didactic as she describes her "Aha!" moments, when she moved from attempting to control her children's behavior to putting them into environments where they can know God and be changed by him. This is not a "how to" parenting manual, but a guide for developing as a spiritually minded parent who asks, "Who did God create my child to be?" 

One of Michelle's recommendations is to explain to children that the Bible is one continuous story, and it's still on-going, and WE are a part of it. She has written a book called The Big God Story
which looks fabulous, but is just 36 pages and I looked for something similar, but longer. I found The Big Picture Story Bible (456 pages), which is based on the same concept, and it's fabulous. It also comes with a CD.

Katy from a blog that used to be around called Katy Shops recommended 30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog, and since mine is definitely NOT, I jumped to get a copy. Our problem is a dog that barks, barks, barks whenever someone comes over.... she's very territorial and distrustful of strangers. There are several chapters in this book that were very helpful.

What are you reading these days?


Friday, November 6, 2015

Sasha's Top Book Favorites

Which app on my phone gets the most use? Definitely my Kindle app! As an insomnia sufferer, there's no better way to pass the time in the middle of the night than reading a good book! Today I'll share with you my top 6 favorite reads.

  • Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis Graces (Kindle price: $3.99). Kate is a former lawyer who has opened a food pantry and hasn't been so lucky in love. She meets Ian when he makes a donation and begins to pursue her. There just aren't enough words for me to describe Ian- but to start, he's charismatic, attractive, and witty. And brilliant! Their banter is delightful and I adored him long before we won Kate over.
  • Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G (Kindle price: $3.99). This is a friends-to-lovers book that is just charming. Carter and Arizona have been friends since fourth or fifth grade (a point of contention between them), and contrary to everyone's belief, have never been more than that. One night after a party things go in a different direction, much to the surprise of both of them. There's a follow-up novella called Sincerely, Arizona that you'll want to read as well.
  • The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen  (Kindle price: FREE!). I have read this no less than 5 times since I first read it earlier this year. Corey is starting college in a wheelchair due to a hockey accident she suffered in her senior year of high school. Adam Hartley is the gorgeous injured hockey player who lives across the hall. The bond over their injuries, sharing a deep friendship that turns into something more for Corey as the year progresses. There are several books in this series, called The Ivy Years, and all are great, I also enjoyed Bowen's Gravity series.
  • Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park (Kindle price: $2). I first listened to this on Audible, and it's absolutely amazing. Julie moves to Boston for college and moves in with a family of her mom's college friend when her housing falls through. As Julie begins to spend time with Matt, the middle son and MIT student, and Celeste, the eccentric 13 year old, she also begins to chat via Facebook with the eldest son, Finn, who is away traveling and volunteering. DO NOT BE SPOILED on this book- it's just stunning and you need to go in spoiler-free and experience it as it is written. You'll want to read the two follow-up novels as well, Flat-Out Matt and Flat-Out Celeste. The entire series is just wonderful.
  • Him by Carey Heywood (Kindle price: $0.99). Told in alternating present and past chapters, this is a friends-to-lovers story of Sarah and Will that I just loved. There are a few other books in the series (Her, Them, and Sawyer Says) and well as a novella called Being Neighborly. Heywood is also the author of the Carolina Days series, another series I really enjoyed. 
  • Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover (Kindle price: $7.99 but oh-so-worth it!). Sigh. What a perfect book! I did the Audible version of this, and went into it totally blind, which I would recommend. I only read a short blurb describing Sydney, a college student who discovers her boyfriend is cheating on her. She soon leans on her mysterious neighbor Ridge for help.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Attention Amazon Prime Members!

I recently found out about two features on Amazon that are simply amazing!

First, there is a program for Prime members called Kindle First that allows you to choose a FREE book each month! There are six to pick from each month, and even if you don't have a Kindle, the book can be read on the Kindle app on your phone. 

Second, do you read book on the Kindle app and use Audible as well? Have you heard of Audio Upgrades? Here's a link that that searches your Kindle library and finds discounted audio upgrades for the books you already own. I found some great audiobooks of favorites for just $1.99!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall 2015 Walmart Beauty Box

I received my Fall 2015 Walmart Beauty Box. The Walmart Beauty Box comes out 4 times a year and costs $5, which includes shipping. Beauty boxes are just plain fun.... especially if you are a product junkie like me. I also purchase the Target Beauty Box when it is available (it always a one-time purchase box). Note that I have adjusted my age down to the mid-20s because I read I might receive more color cosmetics if I did that, but I didn't receive any this time.
I'm also a little disappointed in my box this time because there doesn't appear to be a full sized product like usual. Some boxes appeared to contain a full-sized RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum, which maybe I would have received if I had left my age alone. Ha!
 Here's what was in my box:

  • Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, 7 count packet
  • ACT Mouthwash, 1 fl oz
  • Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer, .3 fl oz
  • Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara, deluxe sample size
  • Dove Advanced Care Anti-Perspirant Deodorant, sample size
  • Aussie Mega Hairspray, 1.5 oz
  • Schick Hydro Silk Disposable Razor
  • foil packet: Biore Charcoal Self Heating Mask
  • foil packet: Crest 3D White Toothpaste
  • foil packet: Nivea Extended Moisture Body Lotion
  • foil packet: Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer, 2 scents

Friday, October 9, 2015


I've been using Ebates for years, almost every time I shop online. They work with lots of retailers I love, like Sephora, Target, and Old Navy, to give you rebates on your online purchases. Right now they are running a fabulous sweepstakes that you enter by sending emails from their special referral page. I'd love to refer you! If you will leave me your email address, I will send you an email with my referral link. Or if you prefer, you can just follow the hotlinks above.

Since joining Ebates, I have received back $1956.33. In cash! How amazing is that?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sasha Goes Gluten Free At Raisin Canes

NOTE: I spoke with the manager at my local Raising Cane's on 10-07-15, and they are NO LONGER GLUTEN FREE. At all. 

The post below was originally posted in April 2014, when I had spoken with the manager and was told they had a dedicated fryer for their fries and naked fingers to keep them gluten free. A friend recently told me that was no longer the case, so I talked with the manager yesterday who verified they indeed fry everything together now.

I immediately removed the post, but then I realized how many hits it had gotten since being published, and decided to re-publish it to make sure that people with Celiac Disease know NOT TO EAT AT CANE'S.

 Please spread the word. I am sure there is a possibility that other Cane's may still have dedicated fryers, but YMMV, and if they tell you they do, the only responsible thing to do is ask each and every time you dine there to make sure they continue the practice.

Raising Cane's Naked Chicken Fingers
A friend mentioned to me that our local Raising Cane's has unbreaded chicken fingers and also has a dedicated fryer used only for those "naked" chicken fingers and their fries. This week we decided to try it out, and after verifying that was indeed the case with the manager, I indulged.

And YUM! I actually think I liked the naked chicken fingers BETTER than the breaded! There was a nice crispy coating, but it wasn't at all heavy and I felt like I was eating amazingly fresh chicken and not just breading. (I'm talking to you, Arby's!)
The Cane's Sauce is also GF and so good I actually dream about it. So glad to have another GF-friendly restaurant to eat with my family!
This post is not sponsored, I am just a new fan of Raising Cane's!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Walmart Summer Beauty Box

Sometime this summer, I received my Summer 2015 Walmart Beauty Box. The Walmart Beauty Box comes out 4 times a year and costs $5, which includes shipping. Beauty boxes are just plain fun.... especially if you are a product junkie like me. I also purchase the Target Beauty Box when it is available (it always a one-time purchase box). Note that I have adjusted my age down to the mid-20s because I read I might receive more color cosmetics if I did that. I think it worked!
Here's what was in my box:

There is usually at least one full-sized item in the box, and this time it was a Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in HD Gladiolus. I actually already have one of these that I believe I got in a Target Beauty box, so I will be passing this on to a friend. (If you are local and would like this, give me a shout!)

Other samples in the box:
  • Nivea Soft Moisturizing Creme (.84oz)
  • Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Suncreen SPF 30 (.5oz)
  • Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Complete Care Anti-Dandruff Shampoo (1.7 fl oz)
  • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Boosters Facial Cleanser White Tea and Vitamin E (.5 fl oz)
  • John Frieda Beach Blonde Sea Waves Spray (1 fl oz)
  • Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara (.16 oz)
  • You & I One Direction Fragrance Spray (.05 fl oz)
  • Foil packet of Ken Paves You Are Beautiful Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner (.25 fl oz each)
  • Foil packet of Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer Medium to Tan (.28 fl oz each)
All in all, a darn good value for $5. These are fun boxes!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Quaker® Chewy® Girl Scouts® Granola Bars

You know we're a Girl Scout family, right? And I'm Cookie Mom? And every January, our home gets turned into a cookie store? It's actually really fun, and a great learning experience for the kids. We really enjoy it. (And the kids love Thin Mints!)

So when BzzAgent offered me a spot in their Quaker Chewy Girl Scouts Granola Bars campaign, I jumped on the chance because I knew the kids would love trying them. We were lucky enough to get a box of the Thin Mint flavor to try.

My 12 year old son LOVES them! They will definitely bridge the gap for us until it's cookie time again in January! I've been including them in his lunches and they have also been a great snack for on the go times like traveling to cross country meets. Each bar has 100 calories and no high fructose corn syrup.

I asked my son to share his review, and he said "I love them, but I really wish there was a Tagalong flavor too!" Pssst.... Quaker. did you hear that? 


Friday, September 25, 2015

A Non-Recommendation: Bausch + Lomb PeroxiClear

I recently purchased a double pack of Bausch + Lomb PeroxiClear because I had a coupon and had tried and liked a similar product in the past called Clear Care. Both are the types of solution that require a special case that includes a disk at the bottom that neutralizes the solution as it thoroughly cleans your lenses.

Well, do NOT buy PeroxiClear! I have drawn a black line on the case in the pic above to show the level the solution needs to be to keep the contacts moist, but overnight this stuff bubbles out the top at such volume that it lowers the level of the solution to where the white arrow points. Aside from the huge mess this makes on your counter, this dries your contacts out, leaving them ruined. I had purchased a double pack that came with two bottles and two cases, so I tried both and the same thing happened multiple times.

A quick google search confirmed this was not an isolated event. It seems to be a common problem. Since I am always sharing products I try and love, I thought I'd share this non-recommendation too and save you some money!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Turbulence by Whitney G. (Cover Reveal and Giveaway)

One of my favorite authors, Whitney G., has revealed the official cover for her new book, Turbulence, to be released on October 22. It looks so good!

You can read more about Turbulence on Goodreads. I like to keep content on Sasha Says pretty PG, and the excerpt is quite steamy, so feel free to check it out there!

Earlier this year, I discovered Whitney G. when her book Sincerely, Carter was recommended to me. It's definitely a Top Fave of mine, and I was beyond excited when she released an epilogue to it called Sincerely, Arizona a few weeks ago. In fact, I woke up and read it at 3 am because I was asleep when it was released at midnight that night! Ha!

About Whitney:

A self diagnosed candy addict, travel junkie, and hypochondriac, Whitney Gracia Williams LOVES to write about characters that make you laugh, cry, and want to (in the case of Selena Ross) reach through your Kindle and slap them.

She is the "imaginary bestselling" author of the Jilted Bride Series, Mid Life Love, Wasted Love, and Captain of My Soul.
When she's not locked inside her room, feverishly typing away on her laptop, she can be found here:
She also loves getting emails from her readers, so if you want to tell her how much you loved (or hated) her stories, email her at!

Website • Blog • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review and Giveaway: Carey Heywood's Chasing Daylight

I've been a fan of Carey Heywood's writing since I discovered her books Him, Her (Kindle edition current free on Amazon!), and Them and the fabulous sequels (Sawyer Says and Being Neighborly). This summer I devoured (and loved) the first two books in her Carolina Days series (The Other Side of Someday and Yesterday's Half Truths). When I read that the third book in the series, Chasing Daylight, would be released this fall, I was so excited that I'd get to know Mitch, an injured vet introduced in Yesterday's Half Truths, better.

The thing I love most about Heywood's writing is her conversational tone- I really feel like a friend is telling me a story as I am reading. And although I have loved her prior work, I really feel like Chasing Daylight is, well, just MORE. In addition to the romance, which is definitely quite steamy, there's some action, suspense, hospital stays, and a charming dog named Zeus. He may be the one you list as your next Book Boyfriend, he's just that sweet. I don't want to spoil too much so I won't go too in depth in this review, but I think you'll love the story of Mitch and McKenzie's relationship. Both are dealing with traumatic pasts, although their issues are quite different.

If you haven't yet read the first two books in the series, not to worry, this can be read as a stand-alone, but if you have, you'll enjoy catching up with characters like Clay and Luke when Chasing Daylight releases on September 21. And if you haven't read them yet, you're in luck! Carey has provided me an Amazon ebook copy of each of the first two books in the series to give away!
The Other Side of Someday is Courtney and Clay's story, and Yesterday's Half Truths is about Lindsay and Luke. Courtney and Clay have somewhat of a more traditional romance, meeting each other after Lindsay has quite a disastrous morning that leaves her relationship, job, and car in shambles. Lindsay and Luke's relationship begins via the internet as Lindsay has a secret she's hesitant to reveal.
Giveaway Details:
One winner will win an Amazon ebook copy of each of the first two books in the Carolina Days series.
To enter, please visit to Facebook and "like" Carey Heywood's author page. After you have done that, come back here and leave me a comment telling me which book in the Carolina Days series you're most interested in reading (please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win). The giveaway is open to both US and international residents and will close on September 11th at midnight CST.
Winner chosen via! Lyndsee!
Disclosure: I was provided with digital copies of all three books in the Carolina Days series for review purposes. Some links in this post are Amazon affiliate links.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Target Head of the Class Beauty Box Review

Target Head of the Class Beauty Box
(currently sold out)
This summer Target was offering some themed beauty boxes, and I chose to order two of them- the Honor Roll Beauty Box, and the Head of the Class Beauty Box. These always sell out quickly and are full of fun products to try. 
Here is what the Head of the Class Beauty Box contains:
  • Goody Ouchless Elastics- More! Again, I am finding myself short on hairbands since my daughter uses them too now, so we can never have too many.
  • Bathery Pumice Stone- It may be hard to believe, but I have never owned a pumice stone. Looking forward to giving this a try on my heels in the shower.
  • Hollywood Fashion Tape- Again, something I have never owned, but will probably come in handy sometime, you know, with all that dressing up and going out I do. I kid, kid.
  • CoverGirl Colorlicious Lip Gloss- I am not usually a gloss girl, but this is a shimmery peach called Give Me Guava that might look pretty over some of the stains I have.
  • Wet N Wild Max Volume Plus Mascara- I currently have mascara coming out my ears, so I will probably pass this on to a friend.
  • Herbal Essences Wild Naturals Illuminating Dry Oil Spray- My hair is at the maxium level of shininess naturally, so this can also be passed to a friend. I have read that this smells fantastic, just like summer.
  • Yes To Cucumbers 10–Count Wipes- This little packet of wipes is so darling, and I think I will put it in my purse to use as hand wipes.
I have seen the value of this box placed at just over $25, and with a pricetag of just $5, it was a great buy!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Target Honor Roll Beauty Box

(currently sold out)
This summer Target was offering some themed beauty boxes, and I chose to order two of them- the Honor Roll Beauty Box, and the Head of the Class Beauty Box. These always sell out quickly and are full of fun products to try.
Here is what the Honor Roll Beauty Box contains:
  • Burt's Bees White Tea Facial Wipes. This little packet contains 10 wipes and will be nice for travel.
  • Bathery Delicate Pouf. I usually go for the cheapie $1-2 pouf, but this is a really nice one that feels thicker than what I typically purchase.
  • CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Primer. This is a full-sized product!
  • NYX Butter Gloss Strawberry Parfait. Again, a full-sized product. I'm not much of a gloss fan, so I will pass this on to a friend.
  • Goody Ouchless Elastics. We are forever loosing ponytail holders at our house (where do they go?????), so it was nice to get a some new ones.
  • Olay White Strawberry Body Wash. A great size for travel and this smells yummy.
  • John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7-Day Treatment.  I am excited to try this- it is supposed to give results that last through multiple washings

I have seen the value of this box calculated to be about $26, and that's a great value for a box with a price tag of just $5.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Target Summer 2015 Beauty Box

Target Beauty Box- Summer 2015
Target has been offering seasonal beauty boxes over the last year or so and this one was recently offered (and sold out). I am so glad I was able to purchase one!
Target Beauty Box
Price: $7 (one time purchase)
I came up with a value of just above $40, and I'm super happy with this box. There was also a coupon for $3 off a $15 beauty purchase at Target.
The box contained three full-sized products (eye cream, lipstick, and nail polish) that I will definitely be trying. I will definitely use the nail polish remover pads for travel, and may give the hair mist a try.
If you like sample boxes like me, the Target Beauty Boxes are great to try because there is no commitment since there is no subscription. It's also nice that you know what you are getting when you place your order! These boxes have been selling out, so be sure and purchase it when you see it next time if you are interested.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Book Review: Accidents of Marriage

I have been doing a lot of reading lately. Such is a side effect of insomnia. The majority of what I have been reading has been light brain candy- mostly YA romance with some NA mixed in. But I set those aside when I was sent a paperback copy of Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyers to review.

Although the subject matter is much more serious, I found myself thoroughly sucked into to this book. Maddy and Ben are a married couple with three children in a marriage that has grown weary and fragile with age and time. After a terrible tragedy, nothing will ever be the same. In chapters told from the points of view of not only Maddy and Ben, but also their eldest daughter Emma, Meyers explores the aftermath of the accident and what it does to their family.

It's a very powerful and emotional book (I found myself tearing up several times during the book), and the author's vast experience working both batterers and victims of abuse is evident in her portrayal of the characters in the book.

Accidents of Marriage was released on paperback on June 9 and is available at retailers such as Amazon. The book was book was recently listed on the Massachusetts Book Awards "Fiction Must Reads for 2015."

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Summer Fun

We are getting excited for summer, and I'm busy planning some summer activities to keep us busy and away from the TV and electronics. Today I'll feature some Season Pass information for the Norman, Oklahoma area, along with a few from the metro.

1. Andy Alligator's Water Park. Season passes are $84.99 per person. Season pass holders also receive a 10% discount on all food & beverage, lockers, retail, cabanas and birthday parties. They've even got a fabulous gluten-free pizza that I enjoyed last summer and can't wait to indulge in this summer!

The $4.2 million-dollar park features a variety of attractions including a lazy river, double tube slide, the first four-lane mat racer in Oklahoma, an 800-gallon bucket of water that will be regularly dumped on kids. (from the Moore Daily)

2. Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. A family membership is $45 and includes complimentary admission for two adults and children (or grandchildren) in the family under age 18. (Note: at this writing, their website is down, but I assume pricing is similar to what it was in 2014.)

From their website: Through world-class exhibits, educational programming for children and adults, public programs, special exhibitions and outreach, the museum brings Oklahoma to the world, and the world to Oklahoma, in a manner that is entertaining and accessible for visitors of all ages and all walks of life.

3. Oklahoma City Zoo. Deal alert: ZooFriends and Mathis Brothers have partnered once again to offer you the biggest discount of the year on ZooFriends memberships! Purchase or renew a membership in May at Mathis Brothers and take advantage of this terrific money-saving opportunity & receive a free gift while supplies last.

 Wildcard Membership: $35
Family Membership: $49
Family Plus Membership: $80

This special offer will only be available at Mathis Brothers located at 3434 W. Reno from May 1-31. Questions? Please call 405-425-0618

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is a zoo and botanical garden located in Oklahoma City's Adventure District in northeast Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The zoo covers 119 acres and is home to more than 1,800 animals. (from Wikipedia)

4. Science Museum Oklahoma. A Silver membership is $125 and is shared by 6 people- great to split between families. You can even add two additional people on the pass for $30 each.

You can also upgrade your membership to an Oklahoma Museum Network Affiliate Membership for $40 and get general admission for any 5 people to the OMN Partner museums: Science Museum Oklahoma, Jasmine Moran Childrens Museum: Seminole, Leonardo's Discovery Warehouse: Enid, Museum of the Great Plains: Lawton.

Note: Old schoolies like me still call this the Omniplex.

From their website: Science Museum Oklahoma is a hands on learning environment for families and general science enthusiasts.

5. Earlywine Family Aquatic Center. Season passes for a family of 4 is $180, and $35 for each additional family member.

From their website: Earlywine Family Aquatic Center integrates a beach-like pool entry with the excitement of high-energy water toys, super tube slides, swimming lanes and twelve gently bubbling geysers.

6. Star Skate. A summer pass is $5 and entitles you to skate for only $3 at their skate sessions. During the summer they have afternoon sessions on Thursdays and Fridays.

7. Kids Bowl Free at Sooner Bowling Center. By signing up, your kids can bowl 2 games free all summer long, M-F. The hours for the program were 9 am - noon last year. Shoe rental is not included and is $3. You can also purchase a Family season pass, but I recommend waiting to do it- they will send you a coupon code to get 10% off. I purchased a pass for my husband and I for just $22.45 so that we can bowl 2 games per day with the kiddos. Last year we purchased bowling shoes from Amazon for around $25 each since we planned on going so much. We averaged at least 3 times per week and by the end of the summer, we were all significantly better bowlers. Such a great program!

Friday, May 1, 2015

10 Makeup Products I'd Repurchase: Update

Time for an update! The question is, if you lost all your makeup (stolen, luggage lost etc), what 10 products would you re-purchase? I have done this twice before and found that some of my answers are still the same, some have changed.

1. Foundation: Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum - $55. I know this is high-end, but it's amazing. It might not work for the palest of skins, but for my warm skintone, it's a perfect match. To me, it looks like I don't have any foundation on, but my skin looks great. It also lasts FOREVER. I have had the same bottle for 10 months and have only used about 2/3 of it and I use it pretty much every day.

2. A damp Beautyblender ($20) is just plain necessary to apply foundation for me now. I started using one about a year ago and haven't gone back to brushes. I watch for good deals at Sephora and usually purchase a set that includes some cleanser to go with it.

3. Powder: ELF HD Powder - $6. We have discussed before how this is a dupe for MUFE HD Powder, which costs $30.

4. Blush: Stila Custom Color Blush - $20. Don't let the bright pink scare you off- it gives you a gorgeous flush. Stila also offers a coral shade, but I like the original pink shade the best.

5. Eye shadow primer: Too Faced Eye Shadow Insurance in Candlelight - $18. It's a splurge, but it lasts FOREVER- a tube will last me about a year with daily use.

6.  Eye shadow: Physicians Formula Sexy Booster Oh So Sexy Eye Shadow Quad -$11. I only use the top three shades, but they are just what I need to create a quick easy eye look. The pigmentation is great and this quad even smells amazing! I have lots of high-end palettes and this is the one I reach for day after day.

7. Eyeliner: Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Deep Brown - $11. I love love love this liner- it's so easy to get a nice straight line and even to do a bit of a cat eye with this liner.

8.  Mascara:  CoverGirl Clump Crusher in Very Black - $6. This has been a staple for at least 2 years now and I consider it my HG. I have found that it works great as a topper over about any mascara. There's something about using two mascaras that gives a fabulous effect.

9.  Lippie: L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in Berry Persistent - $10. I have a large container of lippies, yet I reach for this most days. It's a gloss that leaves behind a stain.

10.  Brushes: e.l.f. Studio 11 Piece Brush Collecion - $30, but you can often get it for 50% off. This is a fabulous set to start with.

This post contains no affiliate links, and all items were purchased by me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Reading Rainbow

I was 10 when the TV show Reading Rainbow debuted so I don't think I watched it much.... but I have some memories of it, maybe from babysitting? Lately I've been doing a different kind of Reading Rainbow.... devouring author Rainbow Rowell's books.

Full disclosure- I am addicted to the Audible app! I first began listening to audiobooks when I was training for a half marathon a few years ago, and even though I've given up long-distance running, I've always got a book downloaded and you'll often see me with ear buds in.

Earlier this year, Audible suggested I give Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park a try, most likely due to my predilection for YA fiction (in particular, all things John Green).

From Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love--and just how hard it pulled you under.

You. Guys. So so so so good. So good that anything I write about it won't do it justice. It'll just be embarrassingly *not* enough. Let's toss it to the writers of Forever Young Adult for a proper review.

After E&P, I immediately downloaded Fangirl, which I have listened to no less than 4 times in the past 2 months. It's just that good. (And has my current bookcrush in it.) Again, Forever Young Adult says it better than I ever could.

From At first glance Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl has a lot in common with Eleanor & Park: idiosyncratic girl with troubled family meets good, normal boy and falls in love for the first time. In Fangirl, quirky introvert Cath is safe within the immensely popular Simon Snow (think Harry Potter) fan-fiction blog she writes with her twin sister, but college turns her life upside down, leaving her feeling like an awkward outsider. When she writes, Cath knows exactly what her characters should say to each other, but when it comes to forging real-life friendships, much less a romance, she hasn’t a clue. An immensely satisfying coming-of-age novel, Fangirl deftly captures the experience of discovering your true voice and clumsy, vulnerable, remarkable, first love. --Seira Wilson

So, spoiler alert: I am so Cath. No, I don't write fanfic, but I can so relate to introvert Cath and her anxieties. And Levi, oh Levi. I am officially smitten.

Next, and by that I mean later that same day, I moved on to one of Rowell's adult fiction offerings, Attachments.

From In sweet, silly, and incredibly long digital missives, best newsroom pals Beth and Jennifer trade gossip over their romances—Beth with her marriage-phobic boyfriend, Chris, and Jennifer with her baby-mania-stricken husband, Mitch. What they don't know is that the newly hired computer guy, Lincoln, an Internet security officer charged with weeding out all things unnecessary or pornographic, is reading their messages. But lonely Lincoln lets the gals slide on their inappropriate office mail and gets hooked on their soapy dalliances, falling head over heels for the unlucky-in-love Beth.

I promise you'll find yourself rooting for Lincoln!

I just finished Rowell's latest book, Landline, which for some reason I was hesitant to start. Actually, I know why.... although her other three books had storylines that could actually happen, Landline has a time-traveling phone plotline. Just suspend your disbelief on that one and go for it, I promise it's an amazing book.

From In Landline, Rainbow Rowell once again shares her insightful, funny perspective on love and relationships, this time delving into a marriage floundering in the wake of kids, careers, and the daily grind. Georgie and Neal have been married for fifteen years and have two young girls who Neal cares for while Georgie works as a sitcom writer. When Georgie skips the family trip to her in-laws in Omaha for Christmas and the rest of her family goes without her, she realizes that maybe her marriage is going too. When a line to the past (literally) gives Georgie a chance to re-live an earlier pivotal moment in their relationship, she sees it as an opportunity to figure out if she and Neal should have been together in the first place. Landline is a deeply resonant story about being willing to go all in--at the start or after being together for many years--for the kind of love that makes “everything else just scenery.” --Seira Wilson

Part of the reason I think I loved all these so much was the narration on Audible. Rebecca Lowman narrates Fangirl, E&P and Landline and she has an amazing voice. I've always called myself a speed-reader but I think I am actually more of a skimmer, and I suspect I may actually have some sort of a visual processing disorder like my kiddos (and this might make even more sense to you after reading about my bookcrush in Fangirl). I've found I get so much more out of a book listening to it rather than reading it.

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